The Mathematical Intelligencer recently published a note by Y. Sergeyev that challenges both mathematics and intelligence. We examine Sergeyev’s claims concerning his purported Infinity computer. We compare his grossone system with the classical Levi-Civita fields and with the hyperreal framework of A. Robinson, and analyze the related algorithmic issues inevitably arising in any genuine computer implementation. We show that Sergeyev’s grossone system is unnecessary and vague, and that whatever consistent subsystem could be salvaged is subsumed entirely within a stronger and (...) clearer system. Lou Kauffman, who published an article on a grossone, places it squarely outside the historical panorama of ideas dealing with infinity and infinitesimals. (shrink)
We examine Paul Halmos’ comments on category theory, Dedekind cuts, devil worship, logic, and Robinson’s infinitesimals. Halmos’ scepticism about category theory derives from his philosophical position of naive set-theoretic realism. In the words of an MAA biography, Halmos thought that mathematics is “certainty” and “architecture” yet 20th century logic teaches us is that mathematics is full of uncertainty or more precisely incompleteness. If the term architecture meant to imply that mathematics is one great solid castle, then modern logic tends to (...) teach us the opposite lesson, namely that the castle is floating in midair. Halmos’ realism tends to color his judgment of purely scientific aspects of logic and the way it is practiced and applied. He often expressed distaste for nonstandard models, and made a sustained effort to eliminate first-order logic, the logicians’ concept of interpretation, and the syntactic vs semantic distinction. He felt that these were vague, and sought to replace them all by his polyadic algebra. Halmos claimed that Robinson’s framework is “unnecessary” but Henson and Keisler argue that Robinson’s framework allows one to dig deeper into set-theoretic resources than is common in Archimedean mathematics. This can potentially prove theorems not accessible by standard methods, undermining Halmos’ criticisms. (shrink)
We apply a framework developed by C. S. Peirce to analyze the concept of clarity, so as to examine a pair of rival mathematical approaches to a typical result in analysis. Namely, we compare an intuitionist and an infinitesimal approaches to the extreme value theorem. We argue that a given pre-mathematical phenomenon may have several aspects that are not necessarily captured by a single formalisation, pointing to a complementarity rather than a rivalry of the approaches.
To explore the extent of embeddability of Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus in first-order logic (FOL) and modern frameworks, we propose to set aside ontological issues and focus on pro- cedural questions. This would enable an account of Leibnizian procedures in a framework limited to FOL with a small number of additional ingredients such as the relation of infinite proximity. If, as we argue here, first order logic is indeed suitable for developing modern proxies for the inferential moves found in Leibnizian infinitesimal (...) calculus, then modern infinitesimal frameworks are more appropriate to interpreting Leibnizian infinitesimal calculus than modern Weierstrassian ones. (shrink)
This article focuses on the role of Christian theodicy in Taras Shevchenko’s works. With a biography marked by trauma and suffering, it is no wonder that Shevchenko orients his poetic worldview in search of understanding the nature of evil and human suffering. Operating through a Christological model, Shevchenko arrives at a poetics based on theodicy, as a means of understanding suffering in the world. He analyses the problem of evil associated with the phenomenology of suffering within the framework of (...) religious ethics. The works of the early period emphasize “truth and revenge,” retribution, and physical punishment over the “malicious” in the spirit of Old Testament dogma. The period of Shevchenko’s exile and subsequent works is characterized by changes in moods. The theodicy of Shevchenko’s works reveals the signs of Christodicy. Shevchenko’s concept of “suffering” is theologically based, as he believes that suffering is the key to conversion to faith. (shrink)
Kyiv-Mohyla Seminar on the History of Philosophy was established by the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’s Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (in co-operation with Ukrainian Philosophical Foundation) in 2003. In this yearly seminar, the Department’s members as well as the historians of philosophy from other academic institutions regularly take part. Since 2003, 16 meetings of the seminar took place. They were focused on such topics as “Historiography of Philosophy in Ukraine: Current State and Perspectives” (2003), “Actual Problems of the Source Studies in (...) the Historiography of Philosophy” (2004), “The Problem of Text Interpretation in the Historiography of Philosophy” (2005), “Dmytro Chyzhevskyi as a Historian of Philosophy” (2006), “Historiography of Philosophy in Ukraine: Current State and Perspectives” (2007), “The Problem of Method in the Historiography of Philosophy” (2007), “Oleksii Losiev: Personality and Heritage (to the 115 th Anniversary of His Birth)” (2008), “Methodology of the Historiography of Philosophy: Actual Strategies” (2008), “Wilhelm Windelband as a Philosopher and Historian of Philosophy (to the 160 th Anniversary of His Birth)” (2008), “Hegel’s Heritage in the Mirror of Interpretations” (2009), “The Studies on the History of Philosophy: New Generation” (2010, 2011), “Kant’s Criticism from the perspective of Wolf’s dogmatism” (2012), “The Reception of Indian Philosophy in Ukraine: 1840s–1930s” (2013), “Did Kant Answer the Question on What a Man Is?” (2016). The proceedings of the early three meetings were published in a special volume (Tkachuk, 2006). The current issue of “NaUKMA Research Papers in Philosophy and Religious Studies” contains the proceedings of the sixteenth meeting of Kyiv-Mohyla Seminar on the History of Philosophy, which took place at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy on February 1, 2017. The main speaker was Dr. Taras Lyuty, while the co-speakers included Dr. Mykhailo Minakov and Dr. Vakhtang Kebuladze. The meeting was conducted by Prof. Vadym Menzhulin. The audio recording of the meeting was deciphered by a PhD-student Taras Fostiak. (shrink)
The article provides a survey of some milestone works of representatives of the Tartu-Moscow School focused on the topic of history, approaches to the past, historiographical strategies, the essence of the historian’s craft, etc. Although these topics associated with the problem of history for the most part remained marginal in the research agendas of the Tartu-Moscow School, still a number of scholars affiliated with the School voiced novel and interesting thoughts and proposals regarding history and the historian’s craft, and to (...) some extent even catalyzed new discussions and spotlighted previously disregarded research problems. The current article intends to give a brief overview of the most important and influential ideas on the topics found in the works of the Tartu-Moscow School scholars. (shrink)
Review of Juri Lotman’s Cultural Semiotics and the Political [Series Reframing the Boundaries: Thinking the Political] by Andrey Makarychev and Alexandra Yatsyk. London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, 228 pp.
Russian philosophers have always been interested in Descartes's thought and the philosophical movements, particularly the phenomeno-logical movement, which grew out of it. Some of them, notably Gustav Shpet and Murab Mamardashvili, were even influenced by and contributed to the development of transcendental phenomenology. Except for N. V. Motroshilova's paper, this issue deals with Descartes and the Cartesian tradition in modern philosophy rather than their influence in Russia. The articles presented here are recent studies by Russian philosophers of Descartes's ideas and (...) their influence in European thought. The last article in this area to appear in our journal was Iu. D. Artamonova's analysis of Descartes's and Aristotle's conceptions of the mind. The familiarity with primary sources and the sophistication of the argumentation in the selections presented here confirm the fact that the history of philosophy was one of the strongest and most interesting branches of Soviet philosophy. (shrink)
There is one theme that appears in one way or another in all the selections of this issue—the role of the dialectic in A.F. Losev's early philosophical thought. The first selection—the last three chapters of Losev's The Dialectics of Myth—demonstrates his dialectical phenomenology at work: chapter 12 defines myth by negation, by contrasting it with other related concepts, chapter 13 comes up with synthetic positive definitions, and chapter 14 looks forward to a dialectically constructed philosophical interpretation of the Orthodox faith. (...) V.L. Marchenkov's full translation of Losev's book—the first substantial translation of any of Losev's works into English—will be published by Routledge in 2003. (shrink)
The first selection in this issue is the fullest available biography of G.G. Shpet. Written by his grandson, it is particularly interesting for its attempt to place Shpet in the social and cultural context of his time. There are a number of inaccuracies in it, to which Shpet's daughter by the second marriage, Marina Gustavovich Shtorkh, has drawn attention. Shpet's birthday is March 26, not 25 OS. Shpet's mother did not marry a distant relative; the boy was adopted by her (...) brother, Jan Boleslaw Shpett. She did not welcome her son's second marriage but she accepted it. She registered her son as a Lutheran, rather than a Catholic, because she believed that one's religious faith should be a personal decision and that it would be easier for him later to switch, if he chose to do so, from Lutheranism to Catholicism than vice versa. Shpet's first wife, Mar'ia Aleksandrovna, left the stage by her own decision, not because of his insistence: she thought her acting career was incompatible with raising a family. She was not the sole support of her children and Shpet's mother: he always helped to support them and his mother always worked. She died in September, not in October 1940. In exile Shpet was not always accompanied by a family member and, after his death, at Leonora's and then Marina's apartments. (shrink)
Since perestroika, popular interest in the ideas of Pavel Florenskii has declined, but scholarly interest in them has increased steadily. In Russia an authoritative four-volume collection of his works came out in 1994-99 and a fifteen-volume collection has been planned. His largest and most important work, The Pillar and Ground of the Truth [Stolp i utverzhdenie istiny] was reprinted in Moscow in 1990 and was translated into English in 1997. An Italian translation has been available since 1974 and a French (...) one since 1975. A German translation is under way. The first three volumes of a ten-volume German collection of his works have come out. There is a dearth of English translations and studies of Florenskii's work. The only book-length study is R. Slesinski's Pavel Florensky: A Metaphysics of Love. The most solid and extensive research on Florenskii is done in Germany and it is fully covered by M. Hagemeister's bibliographies, which appear among the papers of two international conferences on Florenskii. The papers of the first conference, which took place in 1988 in Bergamo, were published as PA. Florenskij i kul'tura ego vremeni / P.A. Florenskij e la cultura della sua epoca in 1995 and those of the second conference, which took place in Potsdam in 2000, as Pavel Florenskij—Tradition und Moderne in 2001. Our journal has published a translation of Florenskii's "Avtoreferat " and two articles on him— one on his relation to contemporary Orthodox theology and one on his importance to the future Russian culture. (shrink)
Russia lacks a tradition of religious and political tolerance and the topic has been rarely discussed by Russian philosophers. The Philosophical Encyclopedia published in the Soviet period contains no entry on tolerance. It is only in the last few years, in the course of the larger discussion of Russia's place in the world, the distinctive character of its culture and history, and the direction of its future development that some thinkers have begun to raise the question of tolerance. The first (...) two selections in this issue of our journal attempt to analyze the concept of tolerance, while the subsequent selections explore its importance in today's multicultural world and in Russia's history and current predicament. (shrink)
This issue is devoted to recent studies of Kant's philosophy in Russia. Russian Kant studies have a long and distinguished tradition: in the nineteenth century there was a strong Kantian current in Russian philosophy itself and in the Soviet period Kant was studied as the key figure in the development of German thought, which led to Marxism. The impact of German philosophy on Russian thought has been and, I think, continues to be greater than that of any other philosophical tradition. (...) It is not surprising, then, that Russia has produced some outstanding specialists not only on Marx and Hegel but also on Kant. They include such names as V.F. Asmus, A.V. Gulyga, and T.I. Oizerman. Hopefully, this issue will be of interest to Kant specialists in the English-speaking world. (shrink)
Since perestroika, Russian thinkers have joined the general discussion of the contemporary relevance of Marxism. In the last two decades, this debate has intensified in the West. According to one side, Marxism is intellectually and politically exhausted. It is a prime example of the grand narrative and the Enlightenment project. In practice it has proved to be not merely incapable of raising undeveloped societies out of poverty but immensely destructive: it has served as the ideological underpinning of the most totalitarian (...) regimes the world has ever known. According to the other side, Marxism is an enduring critical tradition that has furnished postmodernism with its key concepts and has helped to transform the primitive capitalism of Marx's time into the postindustrial welfare state of today. To meet the new challenges of globalization, world poverty, environmental degradation, and gender and racial inequality, this side argues, we must make full use of Marxism's critical potential. (shrink)
The historical turn in nineteenth-century philosophy, the recognition of the history of philosophy as an integral part of philosophy itself, gave rise to the study of ancient philosophy as a special philosophical discipline. The interest of Russian philosophers in ancient thought is attributable not only to the influence of German idealism but also to their rootedness in Orthodox theological thought, which is Platonic at its core. The earliest systematic studies of the ancient philosophers were written by professors at Kiev University (...) or the Kiev Theological Academy, all of whom were graduates of the academy: M. Novytskyi, P.I. Linytskyi, and S. Gogotskyi. A new educational policy, introduced by the imperial government in the 1880s, provided a strong stimulus to studies of ancient philosophy. The policy placed classical philology at the core of higher education and made ancient philosophy a mandatory subject. The authorities hoped that this reform would sever the link between higher education and political radicalism and divert the attention of students from current social issues. At the turn of the century, studies of ancient philosophy in Russia were enriched not only with translations of well-established names in the field, but also with original contributions from Russian scholars such as A.N. Giliarov, M.I. Karinskii, S.N. Trubetskoi, F. Zelenogorskii, and A.I. Vvedenskii. (shrink)
In this issue, Russian philosophers look back at the seventy-year Soviet period of their discipline and try to sort out its main achievements, key turning points, and patterns of development. All of them realize that their involvement in the period that they are assessing—they were all recognized Soviet philosophers—and the temporal closeness of the period—only a decade has passed since the period's official ending—makes it impossible for them to offer anything more than subjectively tinted, tentative judgments. But at the same (...) time, they are well situated to fix the telling details, the special atmosphere, and the memorable figures of this period, facts that, otherwise, will become inaccessible to future historians. The strength of the accounts presented here lies in their immediacy, their rootedness in personal experience. (shrink)
In the last few decades we have become aware of the ecological problem, a problem of unprecedented scale and urgency. It consists of the danger that within our or the succeeding generation all life on earth, including the human species, will become extinct. This possibility rests on the one hand on the conspicuous changes in the global environment that are being effeted by human activity and, on the other, on a new physical theory of nonequilibrium thermodynamics. According to this discipline, (...) complex dynamic systems like the earth's biosphere are extremely unstable. When internal or external fluctuations exceed a certain threshold, such systems collapse into a state of chaos, the outcome of which is in principle unpredictable. The new systems that emerge from chaos are more complex, flexible, and efficient in utilizing free energy, but their components and structure cannot be foreseen. By applying this theory to our biosphere we can infer that if the man-caused disturbances in it exceed a certain level, the biosphere will break down and, eventually, a radically different environment will form. Such catastrophes have already occurred in the course of evolution, wiping out chains of interdependent species and restructuring the biosphere. As two of our authors—V. I. Kurashov and V. I. Danilov-Danil'ian—point out, the fact that we cannot determine our biosphere's threshold and predict at what point the biosphere will descend into chaos is no comfort; on the contrary, it makes our situation all the more dangerous. It is clear that we must immediately drastically reduce our impact on the natural environment. How to do so is not at all clear. (shrink)
In breadth and depth the influence of Nietzsche's ideas on Russian intellectual culture at the turn of the nineteenth century has no parallel in any other country and period. Ten years after the first critical article on Nietzsche appeared in a Russian philosophical journal, a nine-volume and a ten-volume collection of his translated works came out. In 1909 a full collection of his works in Russian translation was launched, but only four volumes were published when the project was discontinued in (...) 1912. In the two decades preceding World War I, Nietzsche had become a household name in Russia. (shrink)
In the past decade, the philosophical scene in Russia has changed dramatically: it has become much more diverse, lively, and interesting. As a result, it is more difficult, but at the same time more important, to keep abreast of significant developments in Russian philosophy. As a journal of translations, Russian Studies in Philosophy plays a unique role in giving the English-language reader direct access to at least some of the serious philosophical work currently being done in Russia. I endorse the (...) editorial policy set forth by my predecessor, James P. Scanlan, in his first issue. With the help of the new advisory board, I shall try to make the journal reflect, as it has done in the past, the state of Russian philosophy. To achieve this, the journal will cover various branches of philosophy and publish materials from different sources—articles from the long-established as well as new specialized journals, chapters or sections from books, book reviews, roundtable discussions, and conference papers. As the Russian philosophical community becomes increasingly diversified, the journal will try to focus on the most controversial issues and present the conflicting viewpoints in a fair and balanced way. It is particularly important to follow Russia's changing view of itself, its revaluation of the Soviet and pre-Soviet philosophical heritage, and its increasing involvement in the world dialogue of the various philosophical traditions. The current issue of the journal presents a discussion of the importance and merits of one doctrine of Marxism-Leninism. (shrink)
In the past decade, the philosophical scene in Russia has changed dramatically: it has become much more diverse, lively, and interesting. As a result, it is more difficult, but at the same time more important, to keep abreast of significant developments in Russian philosophy. As a journal of translations, Russian Studies in Philosophy plays a unique role in giving the English-language reader direct access to at least some of the serious philosophical work currently being done in Russia. I endorse the (...) editorial policy set forth by my predecessor, James P. Scanlan, in his first issue . With the help of the new advisory board, I shall try to make the journal reflect, as it has done in the past, the state of Russian philosophy. To achieve this, the journal will cover various branches of philosophy and publish materials from different sources—articles from the long-established as well as new specialized journals, chapters or sections from books, book reviews, roundtable discussions, and conference papers. As the Russian philosophical community becomes increasingly diversified, the journal will try to focus on the most controversial issues and present the conflicting viewpoints in a fair and balanced way. It is particularly important to follow Russia's changing view of itself, its revaluation of the Soviet and pre-Soviet philosophical heritage, and its increasing involvement in the world dialogue of the various philosophical traditions. The current issue of the journal presents a discussion of the importance and merits of one doctrine of Marxism-Leninism. (shrink)
Nikolai Aleksandrovich Berdiaev is the twentieth-century Russian philosopher best known in the West. Upon his expulsion from Russia in 1922, he lived briefly in Berlin and then in Clamart, at the outskirts of Paris. He was personally acquainted not only with the leading Russian thinkers of his generation such as Lev Shestov, Petr Stuve, and Sergei Bulgakov, but also some important German and French philosophers such as Max Scheler, Gabriel Marcel, and Jacques Maritain. The works he considered to be his (...) most important ones were written in France in the interwar period. He published forty-three books and about 380 articles. Thirty-five of his books were monographs of varying length, the rest were collections of his articles. Twenty-seven of his monographs have been translated into over twenty languages: twenty of them into English. In Russia his first book, a collection of articles, appeared in 1901. After his banishment his works were banned in Russia for almost seventy years. They began to appear only in 1989 and by now twenty of his major works are available to the Russian reader. (shrink)
The five selections in this issue deal with some of the most important and widely known Russian religious thinkers of the nineteenth century. Although this is not pointed out in any of the selections, it is an interesting fact that some of these thinkers were personally acquainted and discussed their ideas with each other. In the last few years of his life Fedor Dostoevsky was friends with young Vladimir Solov'ev and they discussed not only their own ideas but also those (...) of Nikolai Fedorov. Although Fedorov had not published anything on his project of resurrection, both Solov'ev and Lev Tolstoy were well acquainted with his ideas through conversations with him at the Rumiantsev library, where Fedorov served as a librarian. They disagreed on basic issues and their discussions helped to define the differences between them. Some of the differences are mentioned in our selections. (shrink)
For fifty years Voprosy filosofii has served as the chief vehicle of philosophical thought in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. During that time it has reflected the changes that occurred in the thinking of the philosophical community and at the same time has contributed to those changes. Its history, then, is an integral part of the development of Russian philosophy after World War II.
Philosophical anthropology is a distinctive discipline established in the 1920s-30s by German thinkers. It arose as an attempt to integrate various philosophical methods and theories and to confirm the synthetic conception of man by scientific data from fields such as biology, psychology, ethnology, and sociology. The task was to use the ideas and information about man provided by religious and historical experience, philosophical speculation, and scientific research to develop a general theory of man that would be comprehensive enough to qualify (...) for philosophical status and grounded enough empirically to qualify for scientific status. This ambitious program ran into various difficulties some of which are discussed in the selections in this issue of our journal. (shrink)
This issue is devoted to an area of philosophy that, under the Soviet regime, had been drained of intellectual vitality and is now beginning to show signs of life. The authors of our first two selections are the leading Russian specialists in the field of ethics and the editors of an encyclopedic dictionary of ethics, which, undoubtedly, will have a great impact on the further development of the field.
This issue consists of a lengthy piece belonging to a genre that is rarely found in philosophical journals and was hardly conceivable in scholarly Soviet journals—an informal exploration of several loosely connected themes the purpose of which is to raise questions and stimulate thinking, rather than to offer answers. The author poses a number of important questions about knowledge and comments on some solutions proposed by other philosophers without attempting to make his survey exhaustive or to reach a definite conclusion. (...) It suffices if his reflections are interesting and provocative. (shrink)
Many think that Pascal’s Wager is a hopeless failure. A primary reason for this is because a number of challenging objections have been raised to the wager, including the “many gods” objection and the “mixed strategy” objection. We argue that both objections are formal, but not substantive, problems for the wager, and that they both fail for the same reason. We then respond to additional objections to the wager. We show how a version of Pascalian reasoning succeeds, giving us a (...) reason to pay special attention to the infinite consequences of our actions. (shrink)
We make the case that the Prisoner’s Dilemma, notwithstanding its fame and the quantity of intellectual resources devoted to it, has largely failed to explain any phenomena of social scientific or biological interest. In the heart of the paper we examine in detail a famous purported example of Prisoner’s Dilemma empirical success, namely Axelrod’s analysis of WWI trench warfare, and argue that this success is greatly overstated. Further, we explain why this negative verdict is likely true generally and not just (...) in our case study. We also address some possible defenses of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. (shrink)
Some commentators have condemned Kant’s moral project from a feminist perspective based on Kant’s apparently dim view of women as being innately morally deﬁcient. Here I will argue that although his remarks concerning women are unsettling at ﬁrst glance, a more detailed and closer examination shows that Kant’s view of women is actually far more complex and less unsettling than that attributed to him by various feminist critics. My argument, then, undercuts the justiﬁcation for the severe feminist critique of Kant’s (...) moral project. (shrink)
Molyneux asked whether a newly sighted person could distinguish a sphere from a cube by sight alone, given that she was antecedently able to do so by touch. This, we contend, is a question about general ideas. To answer it, we must ask (a) whether spatial locations identified by touch can be identified also by sight, and (b) whether the integration of spatial locations into an idea of shape persists through changes of modality. Posed this way, Molyneux’s Question goes substantially (...) beyond question (a), about spatial locations, alone; for a positive answer to (a) leaves open whether a perceiver might cross-identify locations, but not be able to identify the shapes that collections of locations comprise. We further emphasize that MQ targets general ideas so as to distinguish it from corresponding questions about experiences of shape and about the property of tangible (vs. visual) shape. After proposing a generalized formulation of MQ, we extend earlier work (“Many Molyneux Questions,” Australasian Journal of Philosophy 2020) by showing that MQ does not admit a single answer across the board. Some integrative data-processes transfer across modalities; others do not. Seeing where and how such transfer succeeds and fails in individual cases has much to offer to our understanding of perception and its modalities. (shrink)
I examine and resolve an exegetical dichotomy between two main interpretations of Peirce’s theory of abduction, namely, the Generative Interpretation and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation. According to the former, abduction is the instinctive process of generating explanatory hypotheses through a mental faculty called insight. According to the latter, abduction is a rule-governed procedure for determining the relative pursuitworthiness of available hypotheses and adopting the worthiest one for further investigation—such as empirical tests—based on economic considerations. It is shown that the Generative Interpretation (...) is inconsistent with a fundamental fact of logic for Peirce—i.e., abduction is a kind of inference—and the Pursuitworthiness Interpretation is flawed and inconsistent with Peirce’s naturalistic explanation for the possibility of science and his view about the limitations of classical scientific method. Changing the exegetical locus classicus from the logical form of abduction to insight and economy of research, I argue for the Unified Interpretation according to which abduction includes both instinctive hypotheses-generation and rule-governed hypotheses-ranking. I show that the Unified Interpretation is immune to the objections raised successfully against the Generative and the Pursuitworthiness interpretations. (shrink)
This chapter argues for an interpretation of Kant's psychology of moral evil that accommodates the so-called excluded middle cases and allows for variations in the magnitude of evil. The strategy involves distinguishing Kant's transcendental psychology from his empirical psychology and arguing that Kant's character rigorism is restricted to the transcendental level. The chapter also explains how Kant's theory of moral evil accommodates 'the badass'; someone who does evil for evil's sake.